And today we complete our “four diamond week” with the opening of the 36th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. What we have are the three largest and, what was until recently, the fourth largest American Presbyterian denominations meeting all at the same time. And it is worth noting that they all are part of that great dividing of the mainstream branch, while acknowledging that a few pieces of the Reformed Presbyterian branch have been absorbed in.
The next four days the EPC will be meeting at Ward Church in Northville, Michigan. According to the schedule, today there will be workshops as part of the Leadership Institute seminars, and some additional related keynotes on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Business begins with opening worship tomorrow afternoon followed by the beginning of business sessions. The meeting is docketed to adjourn by noon on Saturday morning.
The Assembly meeting will be live streamed through the host church and the view is embedded on the Documents page.
There is a lot of information on line, most linked through the Documents page. Here are some of the links for information about Assembly business and operation:
- There is the Schedule and the Docket (being issued in daily segments) so you know when the business sessions are and what is being covered.
- There is also the Commissioners Handbook by parts or as a full download. There are also two interesting appendices – the statistical report for us data geeks (and also check out the Stated Clerk’s report) and the proposed Revised Book of Discipline.
- As the committees of the commissioners work their reports will be linked to the page as well.
- Again, there is an app for that: The EPC has a SmartPhone App to help attendees at the meeting.
- At some point we can expect daily summaries to be posted and I will link here. Also keep an eye on the EP News Blog.
- And don’t forget the current Book of Order and the Rules for Assembly.
As for social media, there is a bit of that out there. There is a Facebook page for the EPC that is currently being updated regularly with Leadership Institute items. The official EPC Twitter feed is @EPChurch and the declared official hashtag (#epc2016ga) has sprung to life. There is also a feed for EPC Student Ministries (@EPCStudentMin) and the Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah (@Jeff_Jeremiah -but not active for a while). I would add to this the host church, @wardchurch.
As for individuals, so far Ivan Strong Moore (@ivansmoore) is going strong live tweeting it, so there is a good point to start. For some tweets with a slight edge and sense of humor, check out Chreeha (@chreeha) and their hashtag #rowdyGA.
The list of the business items shows that much of the business is important but generally routine. Maybe the most out-of-the ordinary set of recommendations deal with a revised Position Paper on Human Sexuality that can be found in the report of the Committee on Position Paper Revision. There is also a request to appoint a committee to draft a pastoral statement on Ministering to the Church and the World on Issues Pertaining to Human Sexuality.
With that, I will wish the EPC commissioners well and we will be lifting them up in our prayers as they meet.